This research project served two main purposes. The first was to uncover the perceptions of district administrators from Quality award-winning school districts in regard to the use of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award program as a management framework. This was accomplished by using the Interstate School Leaders Licensure Consortium’s Standards for School Leaders as the frame of reference. The second portion of this research project sought to determine how students in school districts that employ a highest level award-winning Baldrige-based management system compare academically to similar students in comparable school districts that do not employ a highest level award-winning Baldrige-based management system. This was accomplished by using data from nationally mandated state-level student testing programs. To identify the perceptions of school leaders from Quality award-winning school districts, telephone interviews were conducted, and transcripts of these interviews were studied to identify key concepts, trends, and themes. Interview questions were linked to the Interstate School Leaders Licensure Consortium’s Standards for School Leaders.
Baldrige or Quality award-winning school districts were matched to non-Baldrige-based districts using financial, demographical, and geographical characteristics, and student test scores were compared. Scores were examined in the areas of mathematics and reading at third, fifth, and eighth grades across demographic subgroups.
The results of this research suggest that a Quality framework based on the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award was positively perceived by administrators in award-winning school districts. Additionally the study found that most students in school districts that employ this system performed better academically when compared to similar students in matched non-award-winning school districts. When moderate or large effect sizes were reported, the following was noted. Male, female, White and disabled students in Baldrige-based school districts performed better in all academic comparisons. Hispanic students in Baldrige-based school districts performed better than the comparable students three out of five times. Black and economically disadvantaged students performed equally well regardless of school management system. Asian students in the comparison school districts performed better than the Baldrige-based school districts three out of four times. English language learners in the comparison school districts performed better in two-out-of-two comparisons.
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